While doing some research for 92nd Street Y work, I walked right into the exploding world of museum podcasts. If you work for a museum and you don’t have a podcast, I discreetly suggest you get with it. Head for the Museum Podcast Directory. But while I love the idea of museum podcasts, in practice most are a letdown because museums are there to display things, and audio analysis of things on display at faraway museums induces a curiously empty feeling. Video is a much better medium here. Guided audio tours designed to accompany museum visits are another story and may represent the the best use of an iPod since the Sex Pistols were first loaded onto one.
The bright spot in this area though are historical society podcasts. There aren’t many of them but they’re all memorable:
- Kansas State Historical Society: Cool Things Podcast: Mickey Mouse panties, moon rocks and chainsaw chairs. Any questions?
- Kansas State Historical Society: A Kansas Memory Podcast: Real stories culled from letters, diaries and other historical documents.
- New York Historical Society: Hidden Sites of Slavery and Freedom Tour: You can take your own guided historical walking tour around the city via cell phone (1-800-895-8161), video, video podcast, audio podcast or words embedded on paper. Points for offering every format possible and not caring whether or not it still qualifies as a podcast.
- Los Alamos Historical Society Podcast: Oral histories of the Manhattan Project, featuring singing nuclear physicists.
There must be more.